Background: The role of nutritional influences on bone health remains largely undefined because most studies have focused attention on calcium intake.
Objective: We reported previously that intakes of nutrients found in abundance in fruit and vegetables are positively associated with bone health. We examined this finding further by considering axial and peripheral bone mass and markers of bone metabolism.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study of 62 healthy women aged 45-55 y. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine and femoral neck and by peripheral quantitative computed tomography at the ultradistal radial total, trabecular, and cortical sites. Bone resorption was calculated by measuring urinary excretion of pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline and bone formation by measuring serum osteocalcin. Nutrient intakes were assessed by using a validated food-frequency questionnaire; other lifestyle factors were assessed by additional questions.
Results: After present energy intake was controlled for, higher intakes of magnesium, potassium, and alcohol were associated with higher total bone mass by Pearson correlation (P < 0.05 to P < 0.005). Femoral neck BMD was higher in women who had consumed high amounts of fruit in their childhood than in women who had consumed medium or low amounts (P < 0.01). In a regression analysis with age, weight, height, menstrual status, and dietary intake entered into the model, magnesium intake accounted for 12.3% of the variation in pyridinoline excretion and 12% of the variation in deoxypyridinoline excretion. Alcohol and potassium intakes accounted for 18.1% of the variation in total forearm bone mass.
Conclusion: The BMD results confirm our previous work (but at peripheral bone mass sites), and our findings associating bone resorption with dietary factors provide further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health.